As 2016 comes to a close, We are all looking forward to what 2017 will hold. Instead of waiting around for things to happen, take control and make 2017 a year of moving forward.
1. Chase the right things.
A new year can be a chance for a fresh start. Maybe you spent 2016 chasing after a guy who didn’t love you the way you deserve to be loved, or a career that wasn’t fulfilling. Let 2017 be the year you chase the right things. Chase love that lifts you up instead of holding you back. Chase self-acceptance. Chase dreams. Chase inspiration. Chase adventure. Whatever it is that you decide, make sure it’s something that moves you forward in the direction you want to go in.
2. Do work that inspires you.
Whether it’s your career or a passion project, do something that inspires you everyday. Make 2017 the year you find the inspiration and follow it. So you’re working a boring desk job? Well, it might be time to dust off the resume. You’ll thank yourself in the future for making the switch.
While it might not be feasible to leave your current job/schooling/hustle, it is possible to still do things that inspire you and give you a sense of fulfillment. Volunteer your time at an animal shelter or the local soup kitchen. Tutor high school or college students. Work for a non profit. Sell artwork on Etsy. Organize a function to benefit your favorite charity. The key is finding what inspires you and going after it.
3. Take the risks that you were too afraid to take last year.
Go! Travel, see places that you’ve always wanted to see. Or if you want to put down roots, do that. Make that career change you’ve been debating for 9 months. Listen to yourself and what you want. It’s never to late, or to early to do something that scares you. Don’t let fear stand in the way of your happiness. When we do that we curb our ability to live our lives to the fullest in favor of our fears that tell us not to. Life is nothing without a little risk. And If you’re willing to take the chance, the payoff will be worth it in the end.
“It’s never too late, or too early to do something that scares you.”
4. Check in with yourself.
What better time to have a check in with me, myself, and I than at the beginning of a new year. Instead of making a list of resolutions, ask yourself instead where you want to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, etc. And then figure out how to get there. Check in with your mental health. If something has been on your mind, find someone to talk through it. Seek out help when you need it. Quite often, You are the only thing standing in your own way.
5. Stop being afraid of rejection.
Rejection is scary, and to some it can be seen as the end of the road, or the ultimate point of failure. Use 2017 to change your view of rejection. ‘No’ isn’t the worst thing in the world. It doesn’t change what makes you, you. Remember that you are strong, and you are capable of anything that you put your mind to. Just because some people can’t see that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Keep trying and keep reaching for the things that you want. People see you and people see your potential. Just don’t give up.
6. Invest in yourself.
Take a look at your life and decide what areas of your life you should/need to invest in. It doesn’t matter whether you are investing your time or your money, as long as you invest in something. Prioritize the things that are important to you and your goals. There is no limit to the ways you can invest in yourself. They will be different for everyone.
Consider taking that photography course you’ve always wanted to take. Or finally buy yourself some furniture that is not duct taped together from being passed down from sibling to sibling. Meet with a financial adviser and start making long term goals. Plan that dream trip you’ve always wanted to take. Put more effort into relationships that may have taken a back seat. Make a commitment to love more and hate less. Commit to being healthier and letting go of fad diet trends. Get a plant/fish/cat/puppy. Whatever it ends up being, make sure you are taking the time to invest in you.
7. Learn something new.
Life is full of opportunities to learn new things. Takes those opportunities as the arise or create those opportunities yourself. Try something new this year. Learn to play the guitar or how to paint with watercolors. If you’re tired of ramen and takeout, take a cooking class. Learn how to pair wines with food. Learn to code. Learn a new language. Don’t just limit yourself to learning new skills that will help advance your career (although those are always good ones). Continual learning is the key to forward movement. Without it, you’ll stall.
8. Find a balance that works for you.
Nowhere does it say that we must do all the things. Yet from a young age we are encouraged to do as many things as possible (sports, academics, volunteering, etc). It is nearly impossible to continue like that as an adult. If you try to do everything you’ll quickly find yourself on the road to a total burn out or you’ll find yourself doing things half heartedly. Ron Swanson said it best, “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” Take stock of the things that you are not wholly invested in and see if they might be the things to let go of in 2017.
Find a balance that allows you to do the things you love and maintain your sanity. A balanced life to you may look like a busy schedule to others. It’ll be different for every person, but once you find your sweet spot you’ll find that life begins to move forward.
9. Let the bad times of 2016 fuel the good times of 2017.
We all have experienced rough patches. But what really makes a difference is how we learn from our mistakes, or the things in our lives that didn’t go the way we planned. It’s how we find the lessons in the bad and use them to move forward and create the good. Don’t bury your past. Don’t be ashamed of it. Confront it. Come to terms with it. And move on. Put the past on the shelf. If you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over, revisit the things that have happened and try to keep learning from your experiences.
10. Be more organized in your own way.
It’s never too late to be organized. Much like balance, organization looks different to everyone. For example, I operate somewhere between anal retentive and organized chaos depending on the day. Allow your organizational process to be fluid instead of restricting. Organize everything from your money, to your clothes, to your goals. You’ll thank yourself later.
11. Check the back burner.
I don’t mean literally, although if you are a forgetful person you may want to do that. We all put little things here and there “on the back burner” meaning we’ll get to it later, but in reality, we probably never will. What have you been putting off? What can be accomplished? What can be let go? Declutter your life, lighten the load and you’ll find that your day to day will get easier and it’ll free up room in your life for the things that are important to you right in the moment.
12. Live in the moment.
We live in a fast paced world. Everything is always moving and it is constantly changing. We get caught up in the feeling of forward movement, but if you stop to take a look around you’ll realize that you’re not actually moving at all. Sometimes, the best way to keep up with a world that is constantly in motion is to stop, breathe, and find ways to live in the moment.
Plans are great and all, but if you spend your life trying to stick to a schedule or a plan of how things should go you’ll wake up in 10 years wishing that life had not passed you by. Instead try living in the moment. Even if it’s just in small increments at first. Slowing increase that to a few days at first. It’ll get easier each day to stay grounded in the moment and live life to the fullest enabling you to move forward with the rest of the world.
13. Pour Yourself into the things that truly make you happy.
Without passion, we are nothing. Dig down deep inside and find that thing that you are truly passionate about and pour yourself into it. Give it everything you’ve got. When you’re passionate about something, people take notice. Your passion could turn into something you never believed possible. You just need to give it a chance to grow in order to see where it may take you.
“When you’re passionate about something, people take notice. Your passion could turn into something you never believed possible.”
14. Set smaller, attainable, goals.
Do you ever make a to-do list and add tasks to it that you know you’ve already done or can easily be done so you get that thrill of checking it off your list? Same idea here. Large, long-term goals are fantastic, but we can often feel like life is dragging on as we try to figure out how to achieve those goals. Instead, break your large goals into steps, or smaller goals that can easily be obtained and checked off. It’ll make the process move faster and you’ll get satisfaction out of accomplishing the smaller goals.
15. Say goodbye to the people who hold you back.
Some people are brought into our lives for a specific reason. Some are meant to stay forever, while others are meant to stay for shorter periods of time. While it can be hard in the moment to know which people belong in our lives forever and which are only temporary, the answer will soon make itself clear. If you’ve got people in your life who are constantly holding you back it might be time to let them go. The ones who are meant to stay in our lives forever are the ones who build us up and tell us to go after our dreams.
Saying goodbye to people who we’ve connected with is never easy, but it’s sometimes necessary. Let 2017 be the year your recognize who you need to say goodbye with in order to move forward with your life.
16. Surround yourself with people who inspire you.
When it comes to a career, That feeling of being the least qualified person in the room isn’t a bad one. Surround yourself with people who have skills that are different than your own skillset. Learn from your peers. Ask them all sorts of questions. Those who are truly passionate about what they do can’t wait to share that passion with other people. Make a point to seek out role models. Twitter is great for this. Find people who are trailblazers in your industry. Follow them. Learn from them. And pass it on.
17. Be open to change.
It’s scientific fact that a body in motion stays in motion. In order to get in motion you need to open yourself up to the possibility of change. If you fight the change, you’ll find yourself living a stationary life. In order to move forward you need to be accepting of the changes that will allow the forward motion to take place. Change can be a scary thing, and it doesn’t always come easy for everyone. But the thing to remember is that change is possible and it is necessary to continue on with your life.
More About the Author
Cassie is a twenty-something lover of all things art and design, holder of a passion for puppies, and wanderer of the great outdoors. She grew up north of Philly and found herself in Central PA for college where she discovered her love for color and design. She resides in Alexandria, Va with her girlfriend and adorable border collie dalmatian puppy. She works as a designer for a local web design group.